The Future of Ideas
The Fate of The Commons in a Connected World
Lawrence Lessig, 2001
In 1999, in a book entitled The Control Revolution, journalist and legal scholar Andrew Shapiro described two futures that the Internet might take. The first was the familiar story of increased individual freedom, as the network gave us greater control over our lives, and over the institutions, including government, that regulate our lives. The second was a less familiar warning—of the rebirth of technologies of control, as institutions “disintermediated” by the Internet learned how to alter the network to reestablish their control.
Shapiro saw good and bad in both futures. Too much dis-intermediation, he warned, would interfere with collective governance; some balance was needed. But likewise, efforts to rearchitect the Net to eenable control threatened to undermine its potential for individual freedom and growth.